Texas police reached a breakthrough in a cold murder case and arrested a 41-year-old suspect in connection with two 2005 murders on Friday.
Police say new DNA evidence connected the woman, Shelley Susan Thompson-Lemoine, to a nearly two-decade-old crime scene where two elderly people were beaten to death in Cleveland, Texas.
The victims, Antonio and Luz Rodriguez, were both around 80 years old at the time of the murders. Their daughter found the pair dead in their home after apparently being beaten by a weapon, according to KHOU.
Investigators collected blood samples at the scene while a canine unit attempted and failed to track down the suspect's scent. With no more leads, police logged the unidentified assailant's DNA into the state database and moved on.
The case remained cold until March 2021, when Thompson-Lemoine's DNA matched after she was booked into the Texas system for an unrelated crime. She was arrested following a second DNA test which confirmed the result, and a judge placed her bond at $1 million on July 5.
Thompson-Lemoine was charged with a capital offense and could potentially face the death penalty.
"They were great parents, very loving, forgiving, compassionate, and sometimes you wonder maybe that's why people took advantage of that," Rodriguez' daughter, Caroline Tejeda, told KHOU of her parents.
"After 17 years, it feels good," she added of the arrest.